I know more than I did last year. And it's not all good.
The good stuff is that my E is healthy. His numbers are all excellent and he's been undetectable for most of the year.
I have learned alot more about the disease, how it's spread... how it's not. I have learned that it's not something I ever dwell on, but it's never far from my mind.
Call me naive but I am never afraid that I will contract it. I am probably more lax in any care that I give him, but he's pretty injury free for a 4 yr old and even when there are issues, it's not the first thing on my mind.
What I have found though is that while I am never secretive about it with others, I am more cautious about which of his friends know. Does this make me a bad parent...neighbor? I don't think so. I think it makes me a better parent for E.
I am willing to stand up for him in any way shape or form, but I am more cautious about who I need to stand up to. Why start battles for him?
In alot of ways this makes me sad.
Did you even know that any one with HIV living out side the country was not allowed into our country... still aren't until Jan 4, 2010. It's why you hear the word 'waiver' in HIV adoption circles. We had to fill out a form pay more than 500.00 for it and prove that we had insurance and were able to care for him once he was here.
Since 1987 people with HIV have not been able to visit this country. Is that unbelievable to you?! It is to me. Until we were researching E's adoption I had no idea that such a law existed. I guess in some ways I do understand the mind set in 1987 there was so little information about the illness and it's transmission. People were afraid... but it's now 23 yrs later and it's just now being repealed!
I was talking to a couple the other day about our Ethiopia mission trip and HIV and the Project HOPEFUL village being started and some of the things this couple said to me just made me so sad. They really just had not clue. They were still believed the stigma.
The interesting thing is that their little boy was running around the room with E the whole time.
I read today that the next World AIDS Conference which is to be held in 2012 will be in Washington DC, the first time ever that it will be held in the US.
I also read that more than 25,000 people are expected to attend. It's a pretty big deal.
What I wondered is...if 25000 people attend this conference will there really be any change?
There are still so many new cases of the disease right here in the U.S. each year. Doesn't that make you sad?
What makes me even more sad though is all those families torn apart in other parts of the world because of this completely preventable disease.
I am however thrilled with the strides that have been made in just this past year.
The steps taken to come closer to a vaccine.
The new discoveries in medications.
The lift on the travel ban.
The fact that this president isn't afraid to talk about it and make some things happen.
That children are finding homes and no longer being cared for in a hospice setting.
But it's taken 23 yrs to get here.
Come on people.
If we stand together we can make a real difference.
You can start today here are some ways:
At the very least tell one person in the next week something truthful about HIV/AIDS. End the stigma with one person.
At the very most...pray. Pray for those living with the illness, those living with infected persons, and those who have lost a loved one.